Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Consistency of Life: I

“To die would be an awfully big adventure”

She was tired; it had been a long day. Comparatively speaking, the day had gone by as many others had, quickly in retrospect and slowly in the present. There was nothing particularly special about this day, in fact most of the details trailed out of her mind as she walked up the stairs, little wisps of moment floating away unbeknownst to her. She was too lost in the mind numbing fatigue the day had left her with, moving slowly as if weighted up the stairs.  Going home of all things shouldn’t be this torturous but  the only thing waiting for her at home is a microwavable meal, some paperwork, and the cheapest Ikea bed she could find.

Sighing she stepped into her dark apartment, absentmindedly flicking the switch and throwing her shoes off. Her apartment was small but well-kept with hardwood floors and clean cream color walls. She hated it; the neutrality of the color scheme only reinforced how utterly bland she felt her life was. Closing her eyes she slumped into a chair, willing the world to change, willing her life to change so that she wouldn’t have to get up at seven to go to work, to have lunch with Kerry at twelve thirty, to take the train back with Brian tomorrow and the day after and the next day and the next…

Surely there was something she was missing, either in herself or in her life. How did everybody else deal with such monotonous routine on a daily basis? What made them so much more unsusceptible to the incredibly overbearing, suffocating consistency of life? Were they immune to this parasitic mundane repetitive existence people called living?

Frustrated she pulled out her planner and chucked it at the wall. Routines, schedules and plans used to be her pillar, the one thing she could count on in the fast paced modern world. She could trust those little boxed dates and time slots, inserting her plans into them to manage her life. But recently it felt the other way around, she was no longer in charge of what went when or who where. It was like she was a robot, blindly following the commands of the all mighty calendar gods and their scheduling minions.

She didn’t at all imagine her life would be like this.

Where was the adventure, the fulfillment and the happy that so permeated all of society’s billboards—the ones that demanded instantaneous satisfaction, otherwise definite loneliness? Where was life and the living of it? Surely this could not be it.

She reached down to pull out her phone and as a true product of the smartphone dependent times, she googled “define: living.” As the page loaded she smirked at the irony. She just googled ‘living’! Either her issues with life were too shallow or she had more problems than she thought. The page loaded and she frowned at the results.

Living—Noun

An income sufficient to live on or the means of earning it.
Living—Adjective

Alive: “living creatures”; “flowers were for the living”.

 

Poor definitions in her opinion. She had money enough to sustain the influx of oxygen and nutrients to her body, and the flow of wastes out but she would hardly call that living. To her, living was a verb and she was looking for instructions on how to do it. Instructions which,  the almighty Google could not provide.

A disdainful expression spread across her face, quickly fading into annoyance as she absentmindedly let her cellphone slip from her fingers and fall to the floor. It landed hard, barely a bounce as if to prove to her just how much worth she let fall to the ground, but she only walked passed it. Forgetting already or perhaps not caring at all to begin with about the tiny electronic gadget, she headed to her balcony. The humid early evening air greeted her warmly; coating her while the slight island breeze welcomed her, coaxing her to the very corner of the metal barrier.

The city skyline was dark against the setting sun. A lone figure stood out apart on its edges, a proud blemish on an otherwise postcard worthy image. The figure perched carelessly, dangerously on the edge of a balcony, hands waving in the wind, playing with the breeze, taunting and teasing it to blow stronger. It was graceful the way she flirted with each passing gust, her whole body a sly smile against the hard corners of the apartment building, a smile that said, ‘If I fall, won’t you catch me?’

As if answering her question, the wind turned violent, rising to the challenge. The lone figure was tense for just a moment before embracing freedom from the ledge. Her limbs splayed wide, displaying complete trust in her fickle companion despite obvious evidence to the contrary. She fell four floors.

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I Wish Being Alone Was The Norm

amen.

Thought Catalog

I wish that when I went out to eat by myself I wasn’t asked by the waiter if someone else was dining with me tonight. If I could just eat peacefully absorbing my own silence, delicately tasting each morsel of food lying before me. I wish that there were more tables with a place setting for one rather than two, three, or four. I wish that the couple behind me wouldn’t pryingly gaze over at me as they throw back glasses of Merlot together, wondering if I just got just heartbreakingly dumped as I sit quietly rest with my Chianti and bruschetta for one.

I wish that I could go to a movie by myself without my mom asking “Who’s the new boy?” I wish that when I answer, “I’m going alone,” I didn’t receive a sigh of sympathy. I didn’t get fired from my job, I didn’t fail a…

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Friends Don’t Complicate Things

I know we’re over, and I want you to be happy but please won’t you tell me our time made a difference?

Thought Catalog

It’ll be a dreary Sunday, five weeks before you uproot your life to Chicago for a summer internship. You’ll try to keep conversation natural, but after knowing you for so long, he’ll know something is undoubtedly wrong. He’ll ask you what’s on your mind, and while parked at a red light, you’ll break down. You’ll tell him you don’t love him anymore. He’ll try to keep his voice and hands steady as he drives you home, asking you all the questions you had anticipated he would. You felt like you were prepared to be the villain in this narrative, like you were mentally prepared for these questions. You won’t be. You thought you would feel free, but you’ll realize the fabled gut-punching guilt you were warned about by your friends is the reality.

He’ll cry and you’ll wonder why you’re crying as well. You’ll doubt yourself — often and for…

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Superman, the third culture hero

http://www.denizenmag.com/2013/07/clark-kent-and-third-culture-superpowers/

A well written article that illustrates the TCK conundrum, worth a read

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Missing me

I miss you
I miss you when I’m at home, alone having dinner
I miss you when I’m on the train
in class
in bed
in my dreams
But the worst is when I’m surrounded by people
because all these people remind me so much of how they are not you

When I miss you
I don’t know what to do with myself
I want to wallow in missing you
to yearn for your presence
your voice and your playful, joking manner
All the while I want it to go away
to forget and erase your very existence from my mind
from my memory

Which just leaves me stranded at a confused unstable crossroads
And so I deny I miss you
because I don’t want to
The crossroads suck

Missing you means
Makes me feel, I mean
dependent
and weak
To realize that one’s own existence is so intricately tied with another’s
is really fucking scary

But admitting it is the first step to its departure
I guess
So, I miss you.

And spending time missing you
means indulging in your present nonexistence
instead of gallivanting in the opportunities and fortunes
of my own

I don’t want to be happy when you’re happy
because you’re happy
I don’t want to be happy when you’re here
because you’re here

I want the here and now of me
without you

’cause now I’m missing me

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The Problem with Anime

“Do you like him?”

The question that fills any barely middle school girl with terror was posed to me in math class from the pretty popular girl sitting across from me. It came with all the normal fears of judgment and embarrassment that the question normally garners, only so much more. At that time I wasn’t fully aware that maybe she was making fun of me though I slowly came to the realization as class continued. It wasn’t until I got home that I really thought I had a problem.

If the ‘him’ she was referring was the guy everybody thought was cute, I could have dealt. If the ‘him’ she was referring to was any of our classmates, or even the most unpopular, most un-cool kid you could think of, it would have been better. But I remember, the ‘him’ she referred to was KouGaiji, an animated character from the series Saiyuki, who’s picture, along with pictures from other animes, was taped onto the cover of my binder.

When I got home that day, I struggled with myself on whether to take off all of my binder decorations. Eventually I decided against it, downplaying the effect the girl’s words had on me. But over the years I decorated my binders less and almost never mentioned that I watched anime or read manga to any of my peers. It became something I was ashamed of; I saw it as a problem.

Why?

Clearly, if I watch anime I’m some weird, costume-donning, fanfiction-writing, crazed fan girl who’s too obsessed and lost in her world of badly proportioned, Japanese-speaking people. Clearly, reading manga or fanfiction is much worse than watching MTV because it means I have no life. Clearly, it is not an acceptable past time.

At least that’s the impression I gave myself from the impression that girl gave me. And over the years, it has proved true, but I’ll get back to that.

Let me clarify. I can only speak from personal experience and I realize a lot of what I’m saying may be an overgeneralization but it’s been irking me for a while and I think middle school me needs some validation and retroactive spine-growing.

I’m not saying that I agree with the statement that watching anime or reading manga is not okay or that it’s shameful, I’m disagreeing with the heavy judgment that often comes with letting other people know that one watches anime or reads manga. It frustrates me that the stereotypes against these audiences are so negative, especially among the more west-ward leaning cultures.

Yes, it’s foreign and it’s unfamiliar but hasn’t history taught us that different does not equate to bad?

Granted, there’s a huge community built around anime and manga as an intense hobby with figurines, merchandise, costumes and a general “hermit” (or otaku) culture life but that’s only half of what I meant when I said that the impression has proven true. It’s not good to become an “otaku” but it’s also not okay to assume character judgments from a person’s interests.

Now this could go for anything: Justin Bieber’s got Bieber fever, Twilight has Twilight mom’s, One Direction’s got who knows how many pre-teens, teenagers or even adults and beyond lining up at 3am for their music. But I’ve picked anime not just because of my first hand experience but because it’s been so misunderstood in pop culture. It’s different from being a super-fan of a music artist, actor or model. When people disapprove of anime, it would be like me disapproving of music!

It’s a form of entertainment. And like other forms of entertainment, sometimes it’s for kids, sometimes for adults, sometimes for perverts, girls, boys, teachers, students, anybody! It can get a little weird at times, but then what TV show doesn’t? Like any other form of entertainment, there are good and bad animes that vary based on your taste.

What people are often mistaking and thus causing them to jump to unnecessary conclusions about viewers of anime, is that anime is not just a cartoon and not just for kids. It is also not a just a type of porn and not only filled with creepy fetishes. It’s a genre and actually a very broad one at that. Not just for kids, or immature adults, anime is a field of entertainment that encompasses comedy to drama to horror to science fiction and much more. It’s an art, going beyond the simplistic drawings of Spongebob Squarepants or Family Guy with animation on par with Disney or Pixar.

These are things that are plenty clear to me and so I don’t understand why anime is viewed so harshly under the public eye. I know people in college who watch cartoons be it the Simpsons, Archer, Futurama or what have you and are easily accepted for their choice in TV programming. I know adults (with jobs!) who still love Avatar: the Last Airbender, a show that’s been heavily influenced by anime, yet the prejudice against anime remains.

I wonder if it’s this misunderstanding that has resulted in the ‘otaku’ culture, if animosity from the public pushed these audiences farther into their fandoms and onto online forums and communities because the real world wasn’t okay with them, wasn’t okay with their ‘anime problem.’

This is the problem with anime, it’s not like any other hobby or past time where those not involved or those who don’t know can still appreciate it. Even if a person doesn’t like it that much or only dabbled in it for a couple episodes, one maybe two series’, they never mention it. It’s hidden far away under metaphorical bed and in intangible closets because ‘wasn’t it just shameful that I watched that?’

I’m not a particular fan of country music but I still respect it as a genre and as something others might appreciate. I don’t particularly enjoy The Hangover, or comedy movies of that sort, but some people do, that’s their type of humor and I’m fine with that. But the second I tell people that I like Naruto, they’ll get this expression on their face (well first they’ll ask me to say it again because I’ll pronounce it the way it should be pronounced not na-RU-to) of condescension with a smattering of amusement, a “you’re one of those” looks and it’s just downhill from there.

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can you imagine??

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